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What are the worst prescription drugs to mix with alcohol?

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by BrandonA, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. BrandonA

    BrandonA Active Contributor

    I know painkillers are something you do not want to mix with alcoholic beverages (and in general it's just never a good idea), but which ones specifically have the worst and most life-threatening effects? Are the other non-painkiller drugs that stand out amongst the most dangerous when combined with drink? Any personal experiences?
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Benzos (Klonopin, Xanax, Valium, etc.) are horrible RX drugs, even without alcohol (but worse with it). I was prescribed Klonopin by my psychiatrist for anxiety about eight years ago. I never abused the pills and took them only as directed. But I still ended up addicted. I'm still weaning myself off of them with the assistance of another doctor.

    I wrote in piece in my blog about my experiences with Klonopin. If you care to read it, here's the link:

    Held Hostage by a RX Drug: My Klonopin Nightmare

    BTW, you shouldn't really mix any RX drugs with alcohol, IMO.
    lilfaerie28 and kjones like this.
  3. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Mix any kind of benzodiazepine with alcohol and you are dicing with death. taken alone, they are really quite safe. They become lethal when combined with alcohol though. Both drugs are CNS depressants which can act to eventually shut your system down and stop your breathing if you ingest too much.
    kjones likes this.
  4. Auril

    Auril Active Contributor

    Mixing any prescription drug with alchohol can be a recipe for disaster. As the posters above noted - benzos can be extremely deadly when mixed. Narcotics can also earn you a quick trip to the ER if not the morgue when mixed with alchohol as the combination can cause you to stop breathing or your heart to stop beating. There is a good reason that pill bottles come with warning stickers and patient information sheets - to inform of interactions like that.
    kjones likes this.
  5. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @missbishi... I'm not sure if I'd agree that benzos are "really quite safe" when taken alone. That depends on some other factors, like how long they're taken. I never mixed my Klonopin with alcohol, and I only used it exactly as prescribed. But the RX my doctor gave me was for too much. And he kept prescribing the pills for years, which I've since discovered is not recommended. (Benzos are only meant for short-term use.) After a while, I was addicted to Klonopin. I had no idea that was even a possibility, because my doctor never took the time to explain side effects, etc. I think doctors are too casual in prescribing drugs these days. They should go over all the side effects and potential long-term problems with their patient before writing the prescription. I think that's their responsibility. Benzos can really mess you up if not prescribed, taken, and monitored with the utmost care.
  6. bsthebenster

    bsthebenster Community Champion

    Assuming hat "safe" translates to "low mortality rate" then they are incredibly safe. The problem is the addiction, which is arguably the worst out there.
  7. juanperez1990

    juanperez1990 Active Contributor

    Some people freak out if you have a beer while in Tylenol. It's a risk you're taking, you might get ulcers or internal bleeding. Chances are if you're healthy nothing will happen. Benzos however are a different story, if you mix them with any amounts of alcohol you are playing with your life. An acquaintance of mine died this way. He was prescribed benzos and it was game day. "One or two beers won't do anything" he thought. It was a sad day. In between the yelling and kicking and cheering and laughter no one noticed him die right there in front of everyone. One moment he was there and the next he wasn't responding.
    kgord and kjones like this.
  8. kjones

    kjones Member

    @deanokat Good luck. I know benzos are a killer to kick. I've seen a family member attempt it without any success. My thoughts are with you.

    To the original thread starter @BrandonA I believe drugs that are hard on the liver would be the worst ones to combine with an alcohol problem. Also, anything that relaxes the muscles - (the heart) - might be extremely dangerous. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that opiates with acetaminophen (tylenol) may be really bad for liver function. Mixing that with alcohol could do a person in - maybe.
  9. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    No prescription drug can be mixed with alcohol it causes liver damage among other things. It's mixing chemicals with chemicals the liver can't process them. Alcohol is not just fruit and potatoes. Vodka might be made from potatoes but there are tons of chemicals in it before they bottle it.
  10. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    That is so sad and tragic. If he had known the risks involved I am sure he never would have had those beer that day. A senseless death and so difficult for all those who loved him. People need to be made aware of the results of mixing alcohol with any prescription drug.
  11. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    Any of them can have bad risks. Prescription pain killers can definitely cause you serious problems. Benzodiazepines are very bad too. They slow your body down and then the alchohol does the same. You can lay down, fall asleep, and stop breathing because your neurological function becomes so depressed your body forgets to keep breathing.
  12. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    You really aren't supposed to mix any prescription drugs with alcohol. One thing I know that's bad for you is codeine when mixed with alcohol. All over the counter or prescription drugs usually say don't take with alcohol.
    The best thing to do is avoid alcohol for a while after you take prescription drugs. There have been people who have died from popping pills and drinking.
  13. SarahWorksAtHome

    SarahWorksAtHome Community Champion

    Definitely codeine or opiates are a HUGE no no but you should know that many if not most prescription or even OTC medications are a bad combination with alcohol and even with each other. I made the mistake of not reading a pamplet once that came with an antibiotic and I had a few beers... the result was NOT good at all. I couldn't stand up, I was sick as a dog!
  14. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    How about all of them? But seriously, anything with hepatic clearance should not be mixed with alcohol. Most people are worried about potential side effects or diminished effectiveness of the medications, but hepatic clearance is a bigger issue. You run the risk of just wrecking your liver if you combine alcohol with any medication cleared through the liver.
  15. SamBo_LamBo

    SamBo_LamBo Member

    Codeine is the easiest prescription to get addicted to. I once had my wisdom teeth taken out and used aspirin instead of the Oxy I was provided because I have only heard horror stories from people who were sick and used those types of drugs to ease the pain. Thankfully, my recovery was relatively painless, so I was able to transition back without much help. But certainly stay away from codeines.
  16. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

  17. First of all, I would like to point out that mixing alcohol with any drug could be harmful. You should ask a medical professional if you have a question about the safety of consuming alcohol while taking a particular prescription drug. Here are a few examples to note:

    Combining alcohol with acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, drastically increases the risk of harmful or fatal liver damage. It is common for patients to overlook the fact that their prescribed medication contains acetaminophen, since it is included in so many drugs and it has few, if any, noticeable side effects.

    Opiates and benzodiazepines should never be taken with alcohol. Drugs such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and alprazolam (Xanax) slow down your breathing and heart rate. Since alcohol is also a depressant, it exacerbates the harmful effects of other drugs in the same category, potentially leading to unconsciousness or even respiratory arrest. This combination is easily fatal.

    Conversely, mixing a stimulant such as Vyvanse or Adderall with alcohol may be harmful for an entirely different reason. Stimulants tend to mask the effects of alcohol. The person may feel unstoppable; it is common for someone under the influence of this combination to drink far more than they can physically handle without realizing it. Extreme dehydration or even alcohol poisoning are possible consequences.

    Some prescription drugs, while less inherently dangerous, may be extremely unpleasant when taken in combination with alcohol. For example, the antibiotic metronidazole produces symptoms such as intense nausea, headaches, and an uncomfortable feeling; these effects have been said to be analogous to those caused by drugs deliberately designed to prevent alcoholics from drinking.

    These are only a few examples. I would recommend checking with your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not it's safe to drink on any prescription medication, regardless of what it is, since so many dangerous combinations exist.
  18. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    The bottom line is that it isn't safe with any other drug. If it is cleared through your liver (like tylenol) you are taking your life in your hands. Most medications have at least partial hepatic clearance (through the liver).
  19. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    Xanax can be very dangerous as this is usually used for anxiety, but some people tend to take more than is needed and that leads to problems which is not good and alcohol makes it worse. I reckon that drugs and alcohol is never good as it can make a person believe they have control, but it's not the case, as the bodies cannot take the amount of fluid entering and need to be aware of what can happen. It is interesting to see what can happen to a person if they mix drugs and alcohol can make it worse for them, which is not a good thing, for them and hope people get the help they need.
  20. knitmehere

    knitmehere Community Champion

    From personal experience, odds are that you just shouldn't mix anything at all (unless told to by a doctor). I've made the nasty mistake of drinking while taking Valium and also energy drinks (which I don't have a clue why I did), and I've lost a friend to nearly the same thing. It's sad to think that people feel the need to chase that high so badly that they will take anything and everything together in order to find it again.
    JohnBeaulieu likes this.